The Jacksonville Jaguars earned a second consecutive victory, and the team’s first road win of the young 2019 season, on Sunday. The Jags defeated the Denver Broncos by a final score of 26-24 at Empower Field at Mile High. But it wasn’t easy.
The Jaguars started out sluggish, and made many mistakes in the first half. Jacksonville trailed 17-6 at halftime. Then the second half happened. The coaching staff made adjustments and Leonard Fournette ran the ball with authority as the offensive line cleared holes, and the team controlled time of possession to begin the third quarter. Gardner Minshew II eventually found Ryquell Armstead for a seven-yard touchdown on one of the most amazing plays you’ll see all season long. The team had its longest drive (in terms of time) since 1998 with a 16-play, 75-yard drive that took 10 minutes and 24 seconds off the clock.
The Jaguars would then go on to take a 20-17 lead after Minshew found tight end James O’Shaughnessy on a well-designed 18-yard touchdown pass, which was set up by an 81-yard run by Fournette. However, Joe Flacco and the Denver offense would once again regain the lead with just one minute and 32 seconds on the clock.
But that is too much time (with one timeout left) to let Minshew Magic play out. Minshew drove the offense downfield, and was aided by a roughing the passer call. Josh Lambo drilled a game-winning field goal from 33 yards out as time expired, despite winds upward of 20 miles per hour blowing in is face.
Of course, if you’re reading this piece you probably knew all of that already. But what you may not know if the words like “resiliency,” “fight” and “belief” were all key terms that Jaguars players used following the win. The squad had to claw its way back multiple times and that is exactly what it did.
“They have a lot of belief in each other, and that’s important on a football team” head coach Doug Marrone said following the game, via Jaguars.com.
Marrone — who deserves a lot of credit for keeping this locker room together and positioning the Jaguars right in the thick of the AFC South race despite all of the drama, injuries and adversity that has plagued this team — knows his guys showed a lot of adaptability in yesterday’s game. Something that Minshew also believes to be true.
“It just shows our resilience as a team,” Minshew said. “When the offense was down early, the defense was picking us up and vice versa. It just shows we can do that any week and we can rely on each other that much more.”
It was another dazzling performance from Minshew. He was not as accurate as he normally is, but still completed 19 of 33 passes for 213 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Minshew made play-after-play in the second half to lead the Jags to victory. He was sacked five times though, and also took a shot to the lower body on the last drive that appeared to bang him up a bit, but doesn’t look like anything serious.
One of the team captains also echoes these sentiments.
“We didn’t play our best football game by any means, but we found a way to get an ugly win on the road,” defensive end Calais Campbell said during post game. “This team has a lot of resilience, we had a lot of fight in us today.”
Campbell and the vaunted Jaguars’ pass rush failed to sack Joe Flacco, which was surprising given Flacco’s statue-esque pocket presence. However, while he threw for 300 yards, the defense held Flacco to just a 57.9 completion percentage and intercepted him once.
One other player who echoed the theme of resilience and fighting for the win was running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette had a career high 225 rushing yards, joining Fred Taylor as the only two Jaguars to ever rush for 200 yards in a single game. Fournette added two catches for 20 yards.
“Despite all of the adversity that we have going on, this team is a fighting team,” Fournette said following the victory.
Fournette also let us know in his press conference that Minshew’s new nickname is “Jock Strap King,” so thank you for that nugget of information, Leonard.
The Jaguars will now prepare to play the Carolina Panthers in Week 5.